Felix Hernandez Rumors
It was reported late on Monday that the Mariners met with Josh Hamilton on Sunday. The team has also met with the Diamondbacks regarding Justin Upton, but that's far from the only news surrounding the Emerald City...
- General manager Jack Zduriencik appeared on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette earlier today (audio link) and said that the team has had talks with Felix Hernandez about an extension. King Felix has two remaining years on his contract and is still just 26 years old.
- Zduriencik is willing to deal from his wealth of prospects in order to improve the team, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Jack Z said he wouldn't want to move Felix Hernandez, but aside from that: "...if you can look at a scenario where you take a weakness and make it a strength, that's something you have to entertain. You can't sit there and say, 'I'm not moving anybody.' That would be foolish. You have to entertain any opportunity to make your club or organization better." The Mariners have some of the game's best prospects in the form of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin and James Paxton.
- The Mariners are interested in Brennan Boesch, though to a much lesser extent than they are Hamilton, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Boesch is an obvious trade candidate following the Tigers' signing of Torii Hunter.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN tweets that Jason Bay is a strong possibility for the Mariners in the days ahead.
Here's the latest from Seattle...
- The Mariners are again looking to add offense this winter, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). He says free agent hitters are showing a greater willingness to sign with the team now that the Safeco Field fences are moving in.
- "Think I'll carry around a recording: 'I am not trading Felix Hernandez'," joked GM Jack Zduriencik to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). This doesn't figure to be the last time we hear that this offseason.
- Rosenthal says the Mariners view right-hander Brandon Maurer in the same light as top prospects Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, and James Paxton (Twitter links). The 22-year-old pitched to a 3.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 137 2/3 innings in Double-A this year.
No new extension talks have occurred between the Mariners and their 26-year-old ace, Felix Hernandez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The right-hander's current contract covers the 2013 and 2014 seasons after which he'll be eligible for free agency.
GM Jack Zduriencik recently told Greg Johns of MLB.com that he hopes to keep Hernandez in Seattle long-term. The GM declined to publicly discuss whether the sides had had extension talks with the Octagon client.
Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, turned in another elite season in 2012. He started 33 games and pitched 232 innings, surpassing the 230-inning mark for the fourth consecutive season. He struck out nearly a batter per inning (8.7 K/9) while inducing ground balls (48.9% ground ball rate) and limiting walks (2.2 BB/9) and home runs (0.5 HR/9). As one of the game's top pitchers, Hernandez could ask for an annual salary approaching $25MM on an extension.
In the same game that Jamey Carroll hit his first home run since August 2009, Adam Dunn struck out tonight to become the sixth player in MLB history with 2,000 punchouts. Dunn joins Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa, Andres Galarraga and Alex Rodriguez as members of the 2,000K club. Here are tonight's links:
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum is pleased with the job that interim hitting coach James Rowson has done since taking over for Rudy Jaramillo in June, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Rowson could figure into next season's plans, as Sveum plans to address the 2013 coaching staff in the season's final weeks.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has quotes from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny about the club's decision to promote Shelby Miller. A start is possible down the stretch for Miller, according to Mozeliak.
- Many wonder when Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik will change his stance on listening to offers for Felix Hernandez, but that day doesn't appear to be here. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked the Seattle GM if it was a possibility and received a simple "No," as an answer (Twitter link).
- While he's struggled at the plate, Tommy Joseph has still impressed the Phillies since being acquired in the Hunter Pence trade, writes Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Joseph's defense has impressed the Phils, and they still project plus power from the promising catcher.
Kevin Millwood cleared waivers but two other Mariners starters were claimed by rival teams, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Jason Vargas and Felix Hernandez were claimed, but they aren't going anywhere, according to Morosi.
Millwood, a free agent this offseason, can now be traded to any team. He'd be eligible for postseason rosters if Seattle trades him before midnight tonight. Otherwise he can still be traded, but only as a regular season player. He earns a $1MM salary and has a 4.28 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 145 innings.
Vargas would be more than a rental, since he’s arbitration eligible again this offseason. The left-hander earns $4.85MM this season and can expect a raise to $8MM or so for 2013. Vargas, 29, has a 3.90 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings with Seattle.
It would be a major surprise if Hernandez were traded. The 26-year-old is a leading Cy Young candidate again with an AL-best 2.43 ERA in 196 2/3 innings. He'll earn $19.5MM in 2013 and $20MM in 2014 under his current contract.
If the Mariners are serious about trading Vargas or Hernandez -- and there’s no indication this is the case -- they could wait until the offseason when more bidders emerge. For now GM Jack Zduriencik can only discuss trade scenarios with the team(s) that won the claims on his pitchers.
MLB executives tell ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that they make sure to consider the differences between baseball’s two leagues when evaluating trade candidates. “I think it's safe to say you can look a lot smarter taking a pitcher from the American League to the National League than the other way around," one executive told Stark. Here are some highlights from his latest ESPN.com column:
- Baseball people expect the Mariners to sign Felix Hernandez long-term instead of trading him, Stark reports. Hernandez is under contract through 2014.
- Two scouts said they’d recommend signing Grady Sizemore if it doesn’t require much guaranteed money. The outfielder’s season is over and he figures to obtain a one-year, incentive-based contract this winter.
- One scout said he’d be nervous about trading for Johan Santana given his health issues. The Mets recently shut the left-hander down for the remainder of the season.
- Cardinals executives have told people they’re going to let Kyle Lohse’s contract situation play itself out. Lohse, who is headed for free agency this offseason, hasn’t had recent contract talks with the team, so it’s a safe bet he’ll hit the open market.
The Mariners have the best record in the American League since the All-Star break (23-13) after winning six consecutive games, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Here’s the latest from baseball’s two West divisions...
- In an appearance on on Sports Radio KJR this morning Felix Hernandez gave Mitch Levy a "promise" that there's nothing to worry about regarding a possible change in teams (quote via Baker). Hernandez is under contract through 2014 and Baker says the Mariners should extend him beyond that and build a better team around him.
- The Athletics and Diamondbacks extensively discussed a possible Stephen Drew trade leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. The Athletics acquired Drew last night in a move that will reduce Arizona's payroll and provide Oakland with a shortstop who should hit.
- Manager Bruce Bochy said on MLB Network Radio that it's fair to say the Giants are looking for left field help, according to Jim Bowden (on Twitter). GM Brian Sabean is "working on it now," Bochy said, according to Bowden. Gregor Blanco is the Giants' left fielder for the time being. Sabean says all is quiet for now, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
Though the Giants did pick up some infield help in Marco Scutaro earlier tonight, the Giants are focusing on relief pitching given the high cost of a big hitter, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He cites Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Brandon League, Chris Perez and Francisco Rodriguez as a few of the names linked to San Francisco and "if there’s a guy who has experience pitching in the later innings and he’s now on a second-division team, you can bet the Giants are looking into him," Schulman writes.
The Giants aren't the only team who are looking into the arms race as we head towards the trade deadline. Here are some more pitching-related rumors...
- James Shields' recent struggles haven't been due to trade speculation, the right-hander told media (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Rays manager Joe Maddon feels that Shields will still be with the team after the deadline.
- Maddon and executive VP Andrew Friedman shared a "guffaw" over a rumor that the Rays would send Shields to the Angels in exchange for Garrett Richards and Howie Kendrick, according to MLB.com's Bill Chastain. Friedman said he's still not sure how the Rays' deadline strategy will evolve.
- The Orioles are looking to add a starter moreso than a position player, executive VP Dan Duquette tells reporters (including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli). Duquette said other teams have shown interest in Baltimore's own pitching depth in the majors and minors, and Ghiroli speculates that the O's wouldn't deal a young arm without getting a Major League-ready starter in return.
- In response to the latest Felix Hernandez rumors, a Mariners source tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that "Felix will be a Mariner." The M's have been adamant that they have no intention of trading their ace despite looking at a long-term rebuilding plan.
- Through Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said his team was probably done trading after acquiring Zack Greinke earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) reports the Halos are looking for a reliever to share late-inning duties with Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs.
- Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated looks at the three tiers of starting pitchers available at the deadline.
Rival teams say the Mariners have made many players untouchable in trades, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. However, a Seattle official tells Rosenthal the team is “wide open” on possible deals.
The list of untouchable players includes Felix Hernandez, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, and prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Nick Franklin, Rosenthal reports. Some executives question whether Ackley and Seager should be off-limits at this stage in their careers.
Mariners such as Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood, Brandon League, Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan could draw interest this summer. GM Jack Zduriencik will be expected to consider trade offers for some veterans given Seattle's 36-51 record.
The Athletics see themselves as sellers rather than contenders, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported earlier today. Meanwhile, the Rangers continue monitoring Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke in anticipation of possible trades, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Here's the latest from the AL West...
- Athletics owner Lew Wolff told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he doesn't intend to move the team anywhere but San Jose (Twitter links). "We have no interest in leaving our two-team market. Our only focus is on San Jose," he said. "We are not leaving the Bay Area and that's the end of it."
- Josh Hamilton said he’d love to stay in Texas, but noted that contract talks are on hold, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Hamilton’s on track to hit free agency this coming offseason, when he’ll be positioned for a lucrative multiyear contract.
- Mike Napoli, who’s also in the last year of his contract with the Rangers, said he would love to stay in Texas as well, Heyman tweets. “If something doesn't get worked out it's my time to be a free agent," Napoli said.
- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez told Heyman he'd love to stay in Seattle (Twitter link). The Mariners have Hernandez under contract through 2014.